“Everything is possible for him who believes.”

(Mark 9:23)


Our Church
It would be erroneous to state that the history of our church began with the first combined church-school organization. Long before that day its history had begun. Actually it had been started from the day that the first Serbs came to Midland and with their arrival struck the foundation of our colony. Their desire to worship and pray to their God was strong in them, for wherever they ventured and wherever they arrived, the Serbs always carried with them the faith, customs, and memories of their birthplace.
Our first arrivals were strong in their faith in the New World. In all of their colonies, as well as in our own, as soon as they saw the opportunity presenting itself, the Serbs carried out their prerogatives in actual accomplishments so that gradually, one by one, our first organizations, societies, churches, and establishments began to sprout.
The year 1905-1906 marked the beginning of our Serbian colony when the first Serbs came to Midland—among whom were Rade Madjarevich, Nick Momcilovich, Nick Bobich, Mile Esapovich, and Milan Mislencevich.
Life in the days forming this colony was not easy. The busy, calloused hands of our first settlers accomplished all the manual tasks, for the age of machinery had not yet been introduced. The lack of knowledge of the various languages forced our people into the most menial tasks with the result that they earned their daily bread, literally, by the sweat of their brow and were confronted by the most difficult problems in the attainment of their own livelihood, society, and organization.
Their natural vigor, which is an innate quality of our nationality, their firm faith, and their ironclad will were the characteristics which made it possible for our first settlers to endure these difficulties. With these qualities they overcame great temptations, surpassed unforeseen obstacles, and with God’s help consolidated existing opportunities into a desirable public and private existence. The establishment of our organization from the very beginning was of basic importance to American-Serbianism and to our Church, for through gratitude to them we were inspired to safeguard our nationality and faith. Were it not for these organizations of ours, the Serbs in their minority would have been lost, but in this way they not only guarded their own individuality but also proved worthy to themselves and to society and, like good Serbs, set up desirable edifices in their American homeland.
From year to year our colony gained strength until 1913 and 1914 when the greatest number of Serbs came to this “steel town.” Approximately the greatest number descend from Banija and Kordun, although others are found from sections of Lika, Bosnia, Slavonia, Srem, Banat, and Dalmatia. The first years were filled with a struggle for existence. In the activity of realizing for themselves a new life amid strange customs and surroundings, our Serbs did not forget their church and their faith. Although existing circumstances did not permit the erection of a Home of God, for the Midland colony was undeniably small, it was served in this respect in its early years by the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Mingo Junction, Ohio, where they found spiritual nourishment and reminders of a future resolution.
With no connection whatsoever to that church, the first society organized in Midland on June 19, 1912, was the Serbian Orthodox Federation “Srbobran” which bore the name of the Resurrection of Christ. Among its charter members were Nick Belic, Mile Brnilovich, Nick Cimesa, Theodore Karas, Nick Bjelobrk, and George Haydin.
In time because of better connections, Midland was served by the St. George Church of Pittsburgh; but when this church separated from the Bishop, Midland changed over to the St. Elijah Church of Aliquippa. She belonged to this parish until the time of instituting her own parish and church-school organization. Of the priests who served the people of this parish, the most eminent was the late Aleksa Savich, followed by the regular Aliquippa clergy, who at times came to the town and performed their various priestly duties.
The first attempt towards organizing a church dates from the year 1927. This is the first author-itative and written record of our church. On November 20, 1927, the Serbian School Organization was formed, which unquestionably was the nucleus from which later was organized the first Church-School Congregation of Midland. The first School Committee was formed of the following officials: Rade Vranes, President; Mile Studen, Vice-President; Nick Kleich, Secretary; Mihailo Jermanovich, Treasurer. The Supervisory Board was composed of Eli Rakas, Milosh Sedlar, and Nick Tarbuk. To function as a teacher of the school, Nick Petkovich was appointed, which duties he performed in the Vosovic Hall until 1930. The School group was very active; classes were held twice a week with approximately fifty students in the school.
About 1930, Rev. Paul Veljkov came to Midland, the first priest to reside in Midland, although for only a few months. During his stay the School Organization at a meeting on December 7, 1930, was re-organized into the first Church-School Congregation, taking as its patron, the Martyr St. George. At this significant meeting the subject of building a church was first brought up. The first Executive Board at this time consisted of Vaso Ljubchich, President; Dane Katich, Vice-President; Nick Petkovich, Secretary; and Zivko Martaloga, Treasurer. Mihailo Roksandich, Rade Karas, and Rudy Sainovich comprised the Supervisory Board. Serving as auditors were Milosh Bizic and Svetko Stosich. Rudy Trbovich and Milan Miladinovich served on the School Committee.
At a meeting in February of 1931, discussion arose again as to the site to be selected for the erection of the church, and a lot on Fifth Street and Virginia Avenue was selected. However, the bitter depression had a definite reflection on the church history of our colony. In the midst of so many hardships, the first Church-School Congregation dissolved, and with the departure of Rev. Veljkov, the zeal for a church began to die out. A heavy and painful pause bridged the gap between the years of 1932 and 1943.
With the initiation of the American-Yugoslav Club, a meeting was called on July 31, 1943, at which time discussion concerning Church-School congregational matters was renewed. A functioning board was selected of the following members: Pete Bratich, Theodore Roknich, Dragica Vranes, Rade Karas, Sam Bekich, Adam Krivoshia, Martha Trbovich, and Anna Medich. A resolution was made that the church would not be built west of Sixth Street and likewise a cemetery, as was suggested. After several feeble attempts, these interests began falling off again until they were re-awakened with the arrival of the Aliquippa priest, Rev. Trbuhovich, who in this capacity gave significant help towards organizing our Church Congregation.
With the approval of the Bishop, a meeting was called on October 21, 1944, and a new Execu¬tive Board was formed, with Dan Katich, President; Paul Paich, Vice-President; Dragica Vranes, Secretary; and Rade Karas, Treasurer. The remaining members were Martha Trbovich, Mildred Vlaich, Matija Ratkovich, and Obrad Drageljevich. At a very important meeting on January 19, 1945, definite plans were made for organizing the Church-School Congregation, purchasing the church site, and seeking the blessing of the Bishop for their assumed tasks. This day is considered as the day when the very first foundation of today’s Church-School Congregation was struck, for then the first members were signed up and the first donations and pledges were made.
At a meeting on February 9 of the same year Sam Lavona, President of the Serbian Club, reported that the Club had bought three lots on Tenth Street for the church at an approximate cost of $5,700. This selection met with the explicit approval of the people, for it was undoubtedly the best loca¬tion in town. Moreover, it was confirmed that the church would continue to bear the name of the Martyr St. George. A delegated group was entrusted with formally terminating our association with the Aliquippa congregation and initiating our own independent Church-School Con¬gregation and Parish.
On March 3, 1945, Bishop Dionisije arrived to attend the meeting at which the functioning board was named as the first Supervisory Board. A blessing was bestowed for the work of this youngest of congregations and parishes in America, whose first president was John Gypalo and its parish adminis-trator, Father Mladen Trbuhovich. From this moment the parish records were dated, and the first official work on the erection of the church was evident; by August the sum of $20,000 was appropriated by the Club for the building fund.
The new parish of Midland includes the areas of Midland, Vanport, Beaver, Industry, and Smiths Ferry with a total of two hundred homes. Through the existence of the church, a renewed vigor arose with the determination of finally completing age-long hopes and realization of their dreams. The year 1946 brought favorable results. The Executive Committee consisted of Joseph Zlatovich, President; Mike Raich, Vice-President; Dragica Vranes, Secretary; Rade Karas, Treasurer. The Supervisory Board consisted of Steve Roknich, Mildred Roslovic, Adam Krivoshia, and Evica Arbutina. By February a selected committee began to inquire about plans and an architect who would be able to erect a church for about $60,000, which had been the first intention. In July the first plans were brought to a meeting, and the members were informed that the church would cost approximately $75,000 and the parish-house with the corridor an extra $20,000. At this time the members were discussing the feasibility of bringing to our parish Reverend Dobrota as its permanent priest. from a concentration camp in Eboli, Italy. The activity of the Board gave such apparent results that by the end of the year the plans were practically completed, and the building fund had increased to the sum of $29,000.
The year 1947 was a historical period for this colony. The Executive Board was elected with Joseph Zlatovich, president; Dmitar Roknich, vice-president; Dragica Vranes, secretary; and Rade Karas, treasurer. The Supervisory Board was comprised of Mike Jermanovich, Mildred Roslovic, and Paul Dragelevich. On January 15, the new priest, Father Dobrota, and his wife arrived. On January 16 a meeting was immediately assembled and a temporary chapel set up in the Serbian National Home. On January 19, the holiday of Epiphany, exactly two years from the day of the organizing of the Church-School Congregation, the first service was held in the Chapel. On January 26, a St. Sava celebration was observed and a banquet held in honor of the new priest at which were present as guests Bishop Irinej and Reverend Zelich of Steubenville. On the third of February the Executive Board was supplemented with a financial secretary, Sam Gypalo, who was later succeeded by Theodore Trbovich. The Trustees selected were John Ratkovich, Mihailo Roksandich, Mladan Medakovich, Pete Bratich, Steve Trbovich, and Mike Raich. George Martich was selected as the as¬sistant in the church to the priest.
July of this historical year was the most memorable month. During this month after much discussion definite plans were presented, accepted and submitted for contract arrangements. On July 14, at a momentous meeting it was urged that the church should be in the process of construction and and that a contract should be accepted; the date selected was July 20. Consequently, on that day our local priest and Reverend Nikola Sekulich, currently serving in Gary, read the Holy Liturgy on the site in the presence of all local organizations and a great multitude of people. The Club donated $10,000 to the fund, and thus with the sum of $52,000 was begun the construction of our beautiful church.
On October 12 the blessing of the cornerstone was celebrated under the leadership of Bishop Dionisije with the assistance of a number of priests. Into the cornerstone at this celebration were placed the singular document, silver coins, American and Serbian newspapers, and the last paper currency with the likeness of King Peter II. This magnificent ceremony which marked the first step in the construction of our church will remain written in gold letters in the history of our colony.
An intense desire to fully complete the church led to inspired activity. Thus through the initiative of our Priest, the artist-architect Mr. Verhovsky of New York was contracted to construct a beautiful ikonostas of imitation marble. This monumental work, undoubtedly the most outstanding decoration in our church, was negotiated for the sum of $11,000. Contracts were then made for stained glass windows, for flooring in the church and school, for lamps, and for a mosaic of St. George which will be placed outside on the front of the church. Three bells were purchased from England and the remaining essentials arranged for in due time.
In the course of this year the parish-house was completed and duly blessed by our local pastor on October 31 with the cooperation of our local organizations and a great number of our people.
The Church-School Executive Board realized a new body of executives in the 1949 election. These members were as follows: George Herak, President; Nick Borato, Vice-president; Mildred Vlaich, Secretary; Dorothy Vranes, Treasurer; Theodore Trbovich, Financial Secretary. The Trustees included Dmitar Roknich, Steve Trbovich, Mike Raich, Mile Studen, Steve Roknich, Mile Roksandich, and Milan Vranes. Serving on the Supervisory Board were Mildred Roslovic as President with Eva Arbutina, Alexander Vranes, and Daisy Bomestar as members.
The activities of the church committees and the priest were also evident in duties related to church and religion. “Krsne Slave” were observed by each family, the traditional Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day customs were performed, the Serbian New Year was greeted in a befitting manner, and dances and banquets were held on all significant occasions.
The year of 1949 was, without a doubt, the most significant one in the history of our church. At this time it was determined that the church would be dedicated on June 18 and 19—the days of the greatest joy and celebration for our parishioners. The total cost of the church with the school and parish-house amounted to $165,000. Untiring, constant zeal found its re¬ward in both moral and material respects. The support of our community was evident as the amount collected had reached $130,000. These effective attempts continued towards making everything the best and most magnificent; thus the suggestion of  Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovich that our church be named “Lazarica” was accepted.
The American-Serbian Club, although not a Church organization, has been, along with the Circle of Serbian Sisters, the greatest strength behind the building of our Church. It was organized on January 2, 1935. The Club allows the use of its facilities for Church functions and contributes monetarily. The Circle of Serbian Sisters provide for the needs of the Parish Home and the church and give of themselves in time arid energy in Church-related activities. We also cannot overlook the men and women who give freely of their time to teaching the various classes in our Church School.
From 1988 to date we have had various priests serving our parish. In the 1990’s the following renovations were done to the church and parish house: New roof, interior of the Lyceum and Lyceum kitchen remodeled, painting of church and restoration of icons, new side doors of the Church, renovated parish house, landscaping, and water sealed the Church exterior. The current Executive Board is as follows: President, Nick Sudar; First Vice President, Paul Adams; Second Vice President. Mirko Arbutina; Secretary, Helen Hineman; Treasurer, Diane Zeljak; Financial Secretary, Ken Janke Sr.; Members at Large, Harry Burzenski, George Drakulich ; Auditing Board, Mara Roksandich, Mara Yandrich and Evelyn Dawson;
We are grateful to all the pioneers for their continued endeavor and persistence from 1905 until 1949 to complete the dream of the Midland Parish and to all the parishioners from 1949 to date who have worked so hard to preserve and promote the Serbian Orthodox faith.

1945.-1946. Mladen J.Trbuhovic, administrator
1947-1970. V.Rev. Milorad Dobrota
1970. Iguman Simeon Grozdanovic, administrator
1971.-1988. V.Rev.Slobodan Prodanovich
1988.-1989. Rev.Milan Sturgis, administrator
1990. V.Rev.Slobodan Prodanovich, administrator
1991.- 1994.Rev.Zoran Milinkovich
1995.-2003. Rev.Stephen Zaremba
2003.-V.Rev.Slavko Zorica
2004.-2012. Rev.Milan Pajic
2012.- 2014. V.Rev.Milan Krstic

Very Reverend Stavrophor Milan Krstic

Father Milan, son to Milivoje and Marica Krstic, was born on March 15th, 1960 in Jagodina, Serbia. He grew up in Sekuric (Levac county) and finished his elementary education there. In 1976 he went into the theological seminary “St. Cyril and Methodius” in Prizren, Kosovo and Metohia. After seminary he started to study college of theology in Belgrade.

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. Sava of Shumadia , on September 17th, 1988 he was married to his spouse Sava at the Temple of St. Sava in Belgrade. That same year on December 24th he was ordained a deacon by His Grace Bishop Stephan of Zicha, and the next day, by His Grace Bishop Vasilios of Srem, he was ordained a priest. After the ordination and his practice at the monastery Joshanica near Jagodina, he was sent, by Bishop Dr. Sava, on January 7th, 1989 to his first parish in the village Zupanjevac, Levac County. Later, on July 3rd , 1990, by request, he was transferred to the parish Velika-Krusevica, near Rekovac, in the same Deanery. Having spent 2 years at that parish he departed to the U.S.A. There, he served at a parish in New York for four months, and on January 16th  1993, he was officially appointed to the parish of St. George in Clearwater, Florida, by Metropolitan Irinej of New Gracanica.

March 1st, 1998 he was promoted by the administrator of the Mitropolitanate of New Gracanica His Grace Bishop Sava Juric to “protonamesnik” as a sign of recognition to the work and effort put into the parish.

At the consecration of the new Temple, on March 12th 2005, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, as the deputy to Patriarch Pavle, appointed him Very Reverend. March 2006, at request he was transferred to the parish of St. Demetrios in Windsor, Canada. In 2008, His Grace Bishop Longin handed him the right to bear the pectoral cross.

At the summon of His Grace Bishop Irinej of Nis, he moved to Serbia and was appointed the 1st parish of the Temple St. Czar Constantine and Helena on August 1st, 2008 only to be appointed the Cathedral Dean priest the following year in February. His duties as the Cathedral Dean at the church of St. Czar Constantine and Helena were carried on until July 25th, 2012 when he moved back to a parish in the U.S.A.

He has three daughters: Anastasija, Jefimija, and Teodora.

Upon his arrival to Florida, he found that in the records of the parish there were only 15-20 families so he immediately started searching for more Serbian people. He sent letters and notified of different event and plans at the church at all the addresses he acquired. In the meantime, the war swept through the mother country, so he welcomed the displaced, found them jobs, apartments, furniture, and everything that the new comers needed in the beginning. He collected money for the help of the Serbs in Bosnia. He organized the Sunday school for kids, helped put in motion the folklore group and soccer team, and founded a Serbian radio program which he ran and hosted for 10 years. In ’98 he created the churches web site. He helped make up a nice faith based social life at and around the church. At one period he baptized large groups of young Serbs who hadn’t done it earlier. He created the “Sunday Newsletter” that was in Serbian and had some parts in English and Russian (because of the 20 odd Russian families that attended the church services). Also he issued a monthly newsletter “The Parish Voice” and a biannual newsletter “Orthodox”. He created a library at the church with over 1500 different titles. From the city, he got 40 computers donated so that interested parishioners could acquire computer skills. With help from the parishioners, he organized different events in order to gain resources for the building of the new church which was finished in 2005. In 2006 upon his departure to Canada, he left behind a steady religious and social life for over 360 active families.

As soon as he moved to Canada, he initiated the formation of the choir with his daughter Anastasija as director, and the Sunday school which began its work in association with the public schools. He also gathered all the people that stopped going to church and ones that never even went, so for those two and a half years the parish grew three times its original size. He launched a church web site, issued a Sunday bulletin, and an annual magazine. In the meantime, he began to organize the work on remodeling and painting the frescos on the church. He made plans and estimates that in a short period of time he managed to gather a third of the money needed. After he left, the new priest went on with the plans and completed the conceived idea.

By the invitation of The Bishop of Nish His Grace Irinej, and with the blessing of his own Bishop, at the time, His Grace Longin he transferred to the Nish Diocese and on August 1st, 2008 he took over the first parish at the church of St. Constantine the Great and his mother Helen in Nish. After 6 months, on February 14th, 2009 at the order of the Bishop he received the duty of Cathedral Dean of that church.

As soon as he came to the parish he began work on a new website, and by taking up his duties as Cathedral Dean, along with his fellow priests at the church renewed the long before started Sunday bulletin.

The church choir began work and regular rehearsals under the direction of Mrs. Danijela Barac.

The construction of the monument temple, which was being sponsored by the city of Nish, had stopped for a long while but then the plans on the continuation of the construction came into action again, so the church was mortared on the inside, floor heating was installed, the floors were coated with granite, the latest sound system was installed, the coating of the outside church walls with marble began, and inside there was a new marble iconostas with Byzantine icons installed.

In the priest’s office, downstairs in the basement, he brought in computers for every priest, and moved the iconostas from the large hall down in the basement that served as a christening chapel and a winter church into the smaller area located under the alter which was foreseen to be the christening chapel. He supplied the big hall with tables and chairs for 120 people and plates, glasses, and utensils for Slava.

The extra closet next to the hall was filled with cases and shelves with  all the new dining utensils. The hall became the gathering place of the parishioners after Divine Liturgy and every Wednesday, after akhatist, lectures (spiritual conversations) were held in the hall.

After 4 years of service in Nish, on August 1st, 2012, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrofan, he was accepted into the Eastern-American Diocese and appointed the priest for the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Midland, Pennsylvania.

After almost two and a half years in Midland, by decision of His Grace Bishop Dr.Mitrophan, he was appointed to be a parish priest at St.Elijah Church in Aliquippa, PA.

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